Formed in 1866, the Kern County Sheriff's Office is the oldest law enforcement agency in the county. The Sheriff is the county's chief law enforcement officer.
In addition to providing police services to the unincorporated portions of the county, the Sheriff has the responsibility for the jail system, providing bailiff and prisoner transportation service to the courts, search and rescue, coroner services, and civil process (serving lawsuit papers).
The Sheriff's Office has 1,202 sworn and civilian employees. There are 567 authorized deputy sheriff positions deployed in patrol, substations, detectives, courts services, and special investigations units. There are 338 detention deputy positions deployed in the detention facilities, and 297 Sheriff's professional support staff assigned throughout Kern County.
The Sheriff, who also serves as the Coroner, is an elected official. All other ranks are county employees and fall under civil service regulations.